2016 Volkswagen Beetle “Dune”

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An eye-pleasing exercise in style and personality.

Earlier this year, Volkswagen introduced the world to the Beetle “Dune,” an exercise in style and personality that sets this Baja Bug-inspired coupe apart from the rest of the Beetles in the pack.

VW gave the Dune a slightly higher (10mm) ride height, a slightly wider track (14mm), as well as numerous upgrades in the styling department, including new front and rear fascias, beefier wheel arch extensions, faux skid plates, and other eye-pleasing touches.

Bi-Xenon headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights and LED rear lighting are also part of the package, as is a huge spoiler, reminiscent of the Beetle’s more athletic cousins from the Porsche side of the family. VW says they’ve also added a “rough-road suspension.”

Sporty Interior

Inside, the Dune features sport seats with contrasting orange stitching, which really do look very nice. Although the exterior is available in three colours – Sandstorm Yellow Metallic, Deep Black Pearl and Oryx White Pearl (of Pure White), only one colour scheme is available inside – “Dark Ceramique” cloth with black leatherette bolsters and curry yellow piping and stitching.

In addition, Sandstorm Yellow cars feature body colour upper door trims and dashpads, whereas the Pure White and Deep Black Pearl vehicles have black door and dashpad trim.

This limited production vehicle is meant to be a real head turner, and it is. Our test vehicle came in the very loud Sandstorm Yellow Metallic colour, and people couldn’t help but stop, look, and ask questions.

One of the most common questions was, “What’s under the hood?” which brings me to my next point…

Driving Impressions

The Dune is fun to drive. The only fault, in my mind, is that it’s not as aggressive as its bold looks suggest. Since this is a limited production vehicle, and more of an exercise in style than performance, you can understand why VW didn’t invest in a custom engine for the Dune. Instead, this hot-looking car is equipped with the same 170-hp engine available on other Beetles.

You can’t help but wonder how thrilling the Dune could be and would be if VW had dropped a true performance engine under the hood.

Don’t get me wrong, the Dune is no slouch, and it performs as well as any Beetle in the lineup. But that’s the point. If a customer is attracted to the Dune because of the aggressive styling, they’re probably expecting it to deliver in the performance department as well.

In the end, the Dune is about personality, style and pizzazz. If VW fans want something that will also burn rubber and induce whiplash, they may have to opt for another VW model, or perhaps something from the Porsche or Audi side of the family…

Vehicle Specs

 Vehicle: 2016 Volkswagen Beetle “Dune”

 Base MSRP: $26,990

 Price as Tested: $28,560

 Engine / Transmission (as tested): 1.8L TSI 4-cylinder / 6-speed auto (Tiptronic)

 Power Output: 170 hp / 184 lb. ft. of torque

 Fuel Economy (actual): 10.4 L/100 km (combined)

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